WHAT IS JUNIOR HANDLING?
Kids and Leonbergers go together like peanut butter and jelly! If you love playing with your dog, you might really enjoy showing your dog too! The Leonberger Club of America and the American Kennel Club (AKC) have special programs for kids to show their dogs. These programs are called “Junior Handling” in the LCA and “Junior Showmanship” in the AKC. There’s a lot to learn about showing your dog, and this course will help you understand the basics of junior handling—from getting yourself and your dog ready for your first show to bringing home a ribbon!
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPORTSMANSHIP
Junior handling is a competition, and like any kind of competition whether it’s a soccer game or an art contest, the most important thing to remember is to ALWAYS show good sportsmanship. Win or lose, good sportsmanship is always expected. Remember, when you enter a ring with your Leonberger, you’re representing yourself, your family and the breed. So just what does good sportsmanship look like?
Good Sportsmanship includes:
- Congratulating the winner
- Showing respect for fellow competitors and their dogs
- Respecting the judge’s decision
- Taking responsibility for your dog—grooming, training, feeding and clean-up.
Bad Sportsmanship might look like:
- Making negative comments or remarks about fellow competitors, their dogs, or the judge
- Throwing ribbons or gifts on the steward’s table or floor as you leave the ring
- Crowding the handler in front of you or making it difficult for others to show their dogs
It’s important to always remember that showing your dog is about building a bond together, not about how many ribbons you bring home. It should be fun, and should always be a positive experience, no matter what age or skill level you are.